An Indianapolis elementary school principal is being hailed as a heroine Tuesday after she was seen pushing students out of the way of an oncoming bus before being struck and killed.
Susan Jordan, the principal of Amy Beverland Elementary School was killed and two 10-year-old children were hospitalized with serious but non-life threatening injuries when the bus lurched forward, authorities said.
Indianapolis Fire Department Capt. Rita Reith said the buses were lined up outside the school when the accident happened around 2:45 p.m.
"At some point, the stationary bus lurched forward and jumped the curb. The bus was not moving at the time directly before it jumped the curb," Reith said.
The female bus driver isn’t sure why the bus was able to accelerate, Reith said in a statement Tuesday evening. The driver also said "in the instant that the accident occurred" she saw Jordan push several students out of the way, according to the statement.
Reith said the driver and 25 students were examined but didn’t require treatment.
Jordan, who had been principal of the school for 22 years, was loved by her staff and the school community, Lawrence Township Schools Superintendent Shawn Smith said at a news conference.
"This is a great example of an educational leader in our state and our city. ... Just a phenomenal individual that truly cared about children. This is a tragic situation that we have. This loss is going to ripple across our district of 15,000 students," Smith said.
The district canceled classes at all of its schools Wednesday and said in a statement that four locations, including a transportation center, would be "open for emotional support to our staff and families."
Indianapolis Police Commander Chris Bailey said the bus driver, whose name was not immediately released, would be given a blood test, a standard procedure in collisions involving fatalities.
Fox 59 reported that members of the Lawrence Township community posted condolences on social media and expressed appreciation and their fondest memories of Jordan.
“I cannot express deeply enough the sympathy and condolences that all of the city feels, only for the family of Susan Jordan but for those children that were affected by today’s accident. We dispatched first responders, IMPD and IFD, in cooperation with our Lawrence partners on scene. We will continue to be on scene throughout the rest of the evening with critical response personnel as well as chaplains to serve the needs of the people of this community,” Mayor Joe Hogsett said in the press conference.
Amy Beverland Elementary, Belzer Middle School and the Lawrence Education and Community Center will all be open to offer emotional support. Classes are expected to resume on Thursday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.